A former hospital, today you'll find Bethanien one of Kreuzberg's most established contemporary studio come arts spaces.
Bethanien Hospital, ever a hotspot of the alternative, was a centre for the squatter scene in the early 70s. Today, it has morphed into art space Kreuzberg/Bethanien - an open cultural forum that combines artist's studios and contemporary exhibitions. Walking tours, workshops and films are also on the programme at Kreuzberg's oldest building.
From squatter hospital to Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien
Bethanien Hospital is opened in 1847 under Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. It endures as the most important hospital and barracks in Kreuzberg but loses its importance after the Second World War. Its closing in 1970 sparks a heated debate about its future by leftist activists, preservationists and a citizens initiative for nurses. Bethanien becomes known as Georg-von-Rauch-Haus in memory of an activist who perishes in a confrontation with the police. Bethanien is not only the focus of the squatter scene but a cultural epicentre. It gives rise to the German cult singer Rio Reiser and from 1970 onwards births collaborative projects between residents, artists and the politically engaged. Today, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien is still a forum for a variety of contemporary art exhibitions and a packed events programme. Visit contemporary art exhibitions, discussions and artists talks for free. Regular Open Studios tours offer access to the individually designed artists' studios. Curators of the art space also offer films and guided tours. Shows focus on street art, photography, sound installations and media art. A former library on the ground floor is now a project space, and the first and second floors are occupied by temporary exhibitions. Studio 2 is a rehearsal space for actors and dancers. Enjoy a colourful programme of open-air cinema in the grounds behind Bethanien in the summer.
What you can see at Bethanien
- Changing exhibitions on current topics
- Media workshops, including video and audio artists
- Open Studios: visits to the artist studios in the first and second floor
- Original pharmacy interior, typical of the revolutionary 1848-1849 years
- The 3 Sisters restaurant in the historical vaulted hall of the hospital
Other highlights in the vicinity: Art in Kreuzberg
At Moritzplatz, just a few minutes away from the Bethanien, stands the artists' club Scotty Enterprises. The smallest house in Kreuzberg organises international and German gallery exhibitions and performances. 14 artists manage the art space independent of a commercial focus, taking a similar approach as one of Germany's largest art associations, New Society of Visual Art, nGbK, which was founded in 1969. In the former safe factory, you can hear political and socio-critical lectures, discussions and artist talks. The nGbK offers visitors a varied international programme, and they have a well assorted book shop.
Our tips for your visit to art space Kreuzberg/Bethanien
Take the Metro U1 to Görlitzer Bahnhof or Kottbusser Tor. From here, you are just ten minutes walk away from Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien at Mariannenplatz. Alternatively, take the U8 to Moritzplatz, about 15 minutes away. Bethanien is open every day, and normal admission is free. On request, you can participate in guided tours of the gallery and studios. The art space Kreuzberg/Bethanien operates several partnerships with schools in Berlin. The district authority of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg regularly offers learning opportunities through special projects, internships and workshops.